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Reel Talk
March-April 2004

Okay folks, that special time is upon us and it’s time to think hard about the hard knocks your reels are going to take handling the elusive chromium flash explosives known as SPRINGERS!

The last thing you want is an unexpected disconnect from the fish of your dreams due to some avoidable problem with your fishing reel. This month’s article will take you into the mind and body of your most precious fishing tool so that it won’t let you down when the going gets tough.

First thing’s first: If you haven’t serviced your reel, do it yourself or have it done professionally BEFORE you have that critical part failure . That way you can be assured that you are in reely good shape from the opening of the season’s starting gates.

Test your reel’s functionality BEFORE you get on the water. Here are some check points:

1. Make sure the clutch engages and disengages reliably. Click it in and out of gear 25 times.

2. Check the free spool. Some reels will make three or four revolutions on a good day, others will literally spin for minutes until all the line ends up on your kitchen floor. Know your reel well enough so that you know what to expect from free spool performance. Make adjustments to cast control knob etc. as necessary. For lever drag reels, make sure that the drag disengages enough to get your desired free spool.

3. If your reel is equipped with a level wind, verify that it doesn’t get hung up anywhere along its path back and forth across the reel. Let it cycle a dozen times or so. And...Hey Kid! Don’t get your finger caught in there!

4. Check the drag settings. Put the reel on your rod, and string the line through the guides. Tie a slip knot and put some weight on the end of it, at least 4 ounces. At minimum drag setting, the weight should gradually drop. Use heavier weights or a helpful victim to pull on it with increased drag settings until you are maxed out. It should be impossible to pull out line at maximum drag settings. Remember, you must have the reel mounted on a rod to get this test to work properly.

5. Verify that the antireverse does it's job. Rotate the handle forward, then try to wind backwards about every 45 degrees or so. Try it for two or three complete revolutions.

6. Got a clicker? Make sure it works. And for crying out loud, turn it off when you hook a fish! I know, I know, you want everyone on the river to hear your reel sing, but it really does wear things out more quickly. If everyone follows this rule, it means the only screaming reel you will hear is MINE! (Hey, I can replace a clicker in 7 minutes flat).

Right. Now that everything works from the get go, what shall we do during the season? You will probably want to check out the November issue of Reel Talk! to find out about between trip maintenance basics. This segment discusses what NOT to do this season with your reels.

1. DO NOT dunk your reels under water.

2. DO NOT spray the inside your reel with WD-40 or similar products.

3. DO NOT forget to tighten screws after each trip.

4. DO NOT use heavy line and drag settings on a light weight reel.

5. DO NOT rest your thumb on the clutch release at any time.

6. DO NOT start reeling until after your cast or drop is completed.

7. DO NOT continue using your reel if something malfunctions.

8. DO NOT fish without a backup reel or two.

9. DO NOT take apart your reel unless you know what you are doing.

10. DO NOT wait to take your kids fishing with you.

That’s it for this time. Thanks for reading. I hope this article helps you avoid some of the foibles that others will have to deal with this year. Enjoy what has already been a great Springer, Bottom fishing, and of course Steelhead season. If you have any questions, comments or would like to get your reel professionally serviced, please drop us an email at [email protected] or visit us at the link below.

Al Chirinian

Entire Contents of this Article Copyright©2004 Al Chirinian/ReelMeister.com. All Rights Reserved.

[ 02-29-2004, 11:25 AM: Message edited by: reelmeister ]
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